FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
No, the Greater St. Louis Dental Society is not a dental office. We are a professional organization to which dentists can belong. The GSLDS is part of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Missouri Dental Association (MDA). Dentists who are members of the GSLDS are also members of those organizations.
Not all dentists are members, and do not have to be a member to practice dentistry in the state of Missouri. We provide meetings for member dentists to acquire required Continuing Education credits for licensure. To the public, we provide referrals to member dentists, dental clinics, and help direct patient questions regarding dentistry.
The following topics will provide you with information and resources about oral health conditions and diseases affecting you and your family's oral health care. You can find more information about these and other topics at yourmouthistalking.org the MDA website for oral health information, and the ADA oral health website, mouthhealthy.org.
- Tooth decay is a destruction of the tooth enamel. You can help prevent tooth decay by following these tips: Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaner. Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking. Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination.
- Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. In fact, some form of gum disease affects about three out of four adults after the age of 35. Gum disease is usually painless and you may not know you have it. The good news is that you can help prevent gum disease by taking good care of your teeth every day (brushing and flossing) and by having regular dental check-ups.
Oral Health and Your Total Health
- Your teeth and gums hold important clues to other health issues. So if you're interested in maintaining good overall health as well as your smile, visit your dentist for a checkup and cleaning at least twice a year.
- Your dentist has recent good news about progress against cancer. It is now easier than ever to detect oral cancer early, when the opportunity for a cure is great. Your dentist has the skills and tools to ensure that early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified. You and your dentist can fight and win the battle against oral cancer. Know the early signs and see your dentist regularly.
The DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are awarded upon graduation from dental school to become a general dentist. Some schools issue a DDS degree and others choose to award a DMD degree instead. The training the dentist gets is similar with both DDS and DMD degrees, but the name of the degree is different.
Essentially it depends on where the dentist went to dental school and does not reflect a difference in training or quality of treatment.
Missouri Law requires dentists, upon written request of a patient, or guardian or legal representative of a patient, to furnish a copy of the patient record within a reasonable time of the request. Dentists may charge a fee to transfer your dental records, which covers the cost for copies, supplies, labor and postage.
Dentists must furnish a copy of the records, regardless if patients have a balance due or not, but can charge as stated above. Dentists do not have to provide a patient with original records. All original records and x-rays are considered property of the doctor, but copies must be furnished.
In order to make the most out of your dental visits and be a smart consumer, you should ask the dentist and office staff as many questions as needed to help you understand the treatment recommendations. For many oral-health problems, dentists can offer multiple treatment options or grades of dental care. You should ask the dentist to explain each treatment option, including its benefits and drawbacks.
These options may vary in complexity, durability and cost. Which one is chosen depends a great deal on what you want. Working together, you and your dentist can choose the treatment options that best meet your needs. This relationship is a shared responsibility. The following are questions you might ask.
What are the other treatment options?
Which treatment options will have the most longevity? Which procedures in the treatment plan are the most urgent, and which can wait? Among the dentist's recommendations, which treatments are absolutely necessary? Which are elective? Which are cosmetic? What is the cost of each option? Your dentist should be able to schedule treatment for problems needing immediate attention before those that are less urgent, but you'll want to be knowledgeable of any consequences that might result from delaying treatment.
How much will this cost? When and how are you expected to pay?
Does the dentist participate in your insurance plan? What method of payment does he or she expect? And when is payment due? Make sure you understand the fees, method and schedule of payment before you agree to any treatment.
As an GSLDS and ADA member, a dentist is part of a professional association whose mission is a commitment to the public's oral health, ethics, science and professional advancement; leading a unified profession through initiatives in advocacy, education, research and the development of standards.
Each member dentist agrees to adhere to high ethical standards of conduct. These standards are embodied in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. The GSLDS, MDA AND ADA help members keep current with the latest information affecting dentistry to provide the best-possible patient care.
Even in the best doctor/patient relationship, a problem may occur. First, discuss any concerns you have with your dentist. Many times this will help clear up the matter. If you are still not pleased, the Missouri Dental Association offers the Peer Review program to help resolve the occasional disagreement about dental treatment. Peer review provides an impartial and easily accessible means for resolving misunderstandings regarding the appropriateness or quality of care.
Peer Review Request Form
If you determine your case is a matter acceptable by the Peer Review Committee (see criteria following), complete the Peer Review Request Form and return it to the MDA to begin the Peer Review process.
Matters accepted for Peer Review
- The treatment in question must have occurred in the past 12 months.
- Appropriateness of Care: The Peer Review Committee shall determine the professional acceptability of planned or completed treatments, consistent with diagnosis. In other words, did the dentist provide appropriate treatment for the condition that existed?
- Quality of Treatment: The Peer Review Committee shall determine the acceptability of completed treatment based on the standard of care expected by the profession. In other words, was the treatment performed by the dentist done correctly?
Matters not accepted for Peer Review
- Any complaint that doesn't concern the appropriateness of care or quality of care is not accepted.
- If the case involves a fee or billing dispute, it is not accepted
- Complaints of poor customer service, practice management or concerning a staff member's behavior are not accepted.
- If either party has contacted an attorney, even if litigation has not been initiated, the case will not be accepted.
- If a complaint already has been filed with the Missouri Dental Board, it will not be accepted.